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Working As a Public Affairs Officer

  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Stressful

  • $74,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Public Affairs Officer Do

Public relations specialists create and maintain a favorable public image for the organization they represent. They design media releases to shape public perception of their organization and to increase awareness of its work and goals. 

Duties

Public relations specialists typically do the following:

  • Write press releases and prepare information for the media
  • Respond to information requests from the media
  • Help clients communicate effectively with the public
  • Help maintain their organization's corporate image and identity
  • Draft speeches and arrange interviews for an organization’s top executives
  • Evaluate advertising and promotion programs to determine whether they are compatible with their organization’s public relations efforts
  • Evaluate public opinion of clients through social media

Public relations specialists, also called communications specialists and media specialists, handle an organization’s communication with the public, including consumers, investors, reporters, and other media specialists. In government, public relations specialists may be called press secretaries. In this setting, workers keep the public informed about the activities of government officials and agencies.

Public relations specialists draft press releases and contact people in the media who might print or broadcast their material. Many radio or television special reports, newspaper stories, and magazine articles start at the desks of public relations specialists. For example, a press release might describe a public issue, such as health, energy, or the environment, and what an organization does concerning that issue.

Press releases are increasingly being sent through the Internet and social media, in addition to publication through traditional media outlets. Public relations specialists are often in charge of monitoring and responding to social media questions and concerns.

Public relations specialists are different from advertisers in that they get their stories covered by media instead of purchasing ad space in publications and on television.

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How To Become A Public Affairs Officer

Public relations specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree. Employers prefer candidates who have studied public relations, journalism, communications, English, or business.

Education

Public relations specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree in public relations, journalism, communications, English, or business. Through such programs, students produce a portfolio of work that demonstrates their ability to prospective employers.

Training

Entry-level workers typically begin by maintaining files of material about an organization’s activities, skimming and retaining relevant media articles, and assembling information for speeches and pamphlets. After gaining experience, public relations specialists begin to write news releases, speeches, articles for publication, or carry out public relations programs.

Other Experience

Internships at public relations firms or in the public relations departments of other businesses can be helpful in getting a job as a public relations specialist.

Some employers prefer candidates that have experience communicating with others through a school newspaper or a leadership position in school or in their community.

Important Qualities

Interpersonal skills. Public relations specialists deal with the public and the media regularly; therefore, they must be open and friendly to maintain a favorable image for their organization.

Organizational skills. Public relations specialists are often in charge of managing several events at the same time, requiring superior organizational skills.

Problem-solving skills. Public relations specialists sometimes must explain how a company or client is handling sensitive issues. They must use good judgment in what they report and how they report it.

Speaking skills. Public relations specialists regularly speak on behalf of their organization. When doing so, they must be able to clearly explain the organization’s position.

Writing skills. Public relations specialists must be able to write well-organized and clear press releases and speeches. They must be able to grasp the key messages they want to get across and write them in a short, succinct way to get the attention of busy readers or listeners.

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Public Affairs Officer Career Paths

Public Affairs Officer
Operations Officer Operations Manager Marketing Director
Director Of Communications And Marketing
9 Yearsyrs
Operations Officer Program Manager Marketing Manager
Regional Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Operations Officer Project Manager Marketing Director
Director Of Marketing And Public Relations
6 Yearsyrs
Communications Officer Manager Marketing Director
Vice President Of Marketing & Communications
12 Yearsyrs
Communications Officer Manager Property Manager
Assistant Director, Communications
5 Yearsyrs
Communications Officer Office Manager Communications Manager
Internal Communications Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Consultant Owner Communications Director
Director Of Public Affairs
7 Yearsyrs
Consultant Principal Communications Director
Director, Corporate Communications
10 Yearsyrs
Consultant Marketing Manager Marketing Communications Manager
Manager Of Corporate Communications
7 Yearsyrs
Platoon Leader Operations Manager Assistant Director
Director Of Alumni Relations
5 Yearsyrs
Platoon Leader Owner Communications Director
Community Development Director
9 Yearsyrs
Platoon Leader Logistics Manager Event Manager
Director Of Special Events
5 Yearsyrs
Manager Principal Public Relations Director
Media Relations Director
5 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Marketing Manager Communications Manager
Communications Project Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Principal Public Relations Director
Public Relations And Communications Director
7 Yearsyrs
Public Relations Manager Social Media Manager Strategist
Senior Strategist
8 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Marketing Consultant Communications Consultant
Public Information Officer
6 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Marketing Specialist Communications Consultant
Media Relations Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Senior Advisor Senior Training Specialist Senior Technical Writer
Publications Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Communications Consultant Public Information Officer
Public Affairs Manager
6 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Public Affairs Officer?

Average Yearly Salary
$74,000
Show Salaries
$49,000
Min 10%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$112,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
U.S. Department of State
Highest Paying City
Washington, DC
Highest Paying State
Virginia
Avg Experience Level
3.8 years
How much does a Public Affairs Officer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Public Affairs Officer in the United States is $74,605 per year or $36 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $49,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $112,000.

Top Skills for A Public Affairs Officer

  1. Public Affairs
  2. Press Releases
  3. Commander
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Develop internal and external relationships for coordinating public affairs assignments for subordinates, develop promotion strategies and guidelines for multimedia products.
  • Generate press releases and informational emails for Department-wide dissemination to promote science policy fellowships and global science campaigns.
  • Provided logistical coordination for Marines as they traveled around the world generating media to support our Commander's strategic communications goals.
  • Developed, directed, reviewed, and conducted comprehensive Command Information, Public Information/Media Relations, and Community Relations programs.
  • Demonstrated ability to cautiously and effectively perform crisis communications dealing with a broad range of public relations issues.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Public Affairs Officers

  1. District of Columbia
  2. New Jersey
  3. Rhode Island
  4. Virginia
  5. Maine
  6. Delaware
  7. New York
  8. Connecticut
  9. West Virginia
  10. Mississippi
  • (74 jobs)
  • (68 jobs)
  • (12 jobs)
  • (58 jobs)
  • (12 jobs)
  • (6 jobs)
  • (109 jobs)
  • (19 jobs)
  • (2 jobs)
  • (9 jobs)

Public Affairs Officer Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 2,518 Public Affairs Officer resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Public Affairs Officer Resume

View Resume Examples

Public Affairs Officer Demographics

Gender

Male

52.9%

Female

37.6%

Unknown

9.5%
Ethnicity

White

59.8%

Hispanic or Latino

14.9%

Black or African American

14.0%

Asian

7.2%

Unknown

4.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

40.5%

French

16.9%

German

6.1%

Arabic

6.1%

Russian

4.1%

Mandarin

3.4%

Korean

2.7%

Italian

2.7%

Portuguese

2.7%

Chinese

2.7%

Japanese

2.7%

Greek

2.0%

Malay

1.4%

Cantonese

1.4%

Hebrew

1.4%

Swedish

0.7%

Swahili

0.7%

Estonian

0.7%

Hindi

0.7%

Bulgarian

0.7%
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Public Affairs Officer Education

Schools

Defense Information School

12.7%

George Washington University

8.2%

Webster University

8.2%

University of Phoenix

7.9%

American University

7.7%

University of Maryland - University College

6.1%

United States Naval Academy

4.5%

Georgetown University

4.0%

San Diego State University

4.0%

University of Missouri - Columbia

4.0%

University of Oklahoma

4.0%

Syracuse University

3.7%

Excelsior College

3.7%

Liberty University

3.7%

Troy University

3.2%

George Mason University

3.2%

University of Maryland - College Park

2.9%

Johns Hopkins University

2.9%

Regent University

2.9%

Michigan State University

2.6%
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Majors

Business

16.9%

Communication

13.8%

Journalism

8.8%

Political Science

8.2%

Management

5.9%

International Relations

5.8%

Public Relations

5.0%

English

4.0%

Criminal Justice

3.5%

Marketing

3.3%

Public Administration

3.1%

History

3.1%

Law

3.1%

Liberal Arts

2.7%

Education

2.7%

Psychology

2.5%

Human Resources Management

2.3%

Agricultural Public Services

2.0%

Photography

1.6%

Business Communications

1.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

40.0%

Masters

35.3%

Other

13.5%

Doctorate

3.9%

Certificate

3.3%

Associate

3.0%

Diploma

0.7%

License

0.2%
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